Movie Review- ‘Whiplash’


Gripping? Exhilarating? One will be at a loss of words to describe the feeling they experience after watching the 2014 release, ‘Whiplash’.  All the positive comments and feedback that you may have previously heard about this movie are all true and the movie lives up to its nomination for the ‘Best Film’ at the 87th Academy Annual Awards, 2014.

Why Is it A Must Watch?

Right from the very offset, the dynamics between the protagonists of the movie will have you on edge.  Everything about the movie seems to be in sync with one another- be it the screentime of the various characters of the movie, the somber sets used to screen the music sequences right down to the intensity with which characters deliver their dialogues. An ingenious storyline which revolves around the relationship of a boy named Andrew Neiman (played by Miles Teller) with that of his mentor Terence Fletcher (played by J.K Simmons) acts as the cohesive element that binds all these incredible pieces of work together. 

Every minute of screen time of a particular character, every dialogue delivered, every minute detail about the movie is consequential to the subsequent scene and ultimately to the entire unraveling of the plot. It is very seldom that one comes across a movie that is so well-knit together and if all these reasons aren’t enough to make you watch this movie, perhaps an outline of the plot of the movie may further pique your interests. 

Haven’t watched the trailer?

The Plot.

The movie revolves around the relationship that Neiman shares with his jazz teacher Terence Fletcher, who is known for his eye for talent. In his pursuit to impress Terence, Neiman starts alienating himself from real relationships and people. Instead, he creates a fictitious bubble within which reside only his passion for drumming and his idol, Buddy Rich. In his quest to achieve unparalleled success in the field of drumming, anything and anyone beyond this bubble are perceived as distractions by him, a philosophy which has complex repercussions. 

Jazz instructor Terence Fletcher is portrayed as an extremely methodical man, one who values his reputation unprecedently. Revered in the music fraternity for his impeccable records, Terence has a methodology that is ethically questionable- he uses abusive language and force to assert his authority over his students. However, Neiman does not perceive the same in a similar fashion and religiously believes that such a grueling and intensive method of teaching will help him grow as a drummer. 

As the plot further unfolds, Neiman is seen trying his level best in order to become the first choice drummer of Terence’s jazz band. Hours and hours of grueling practice sessions meant that Neiman was left with bleeding sores all of which were inconsequential to him in his pursuit of greatness. His lack of human emotion and utter detachment is reflected within a scene with his girlfriend where he is seen treating her as a scapegoat in order to vent out his frustration over his inability to become a regular member of the band. Neiman starts lashing out at the people close to him, with ambition gradually metamorphosing into obsession and ultimately into revenge. The manner in which the entire process is depicted on screen is simply stunning and reflective of how humans do not know when things are getting out of hand and where there is a need to draw a line.

The movie ends with a gripping climax, further details of which I cannot disclose as that would beat the whole purpose of this review. However, I do assure you that it is one of the most gripping scenes in the movie, leaving you wanting for a little more context and some sort of closure when the credits start to roll.  

Intense Scenes.

There are some intense scenes between the two protagonists of the movie, the tension between whom is quite literally translated on screen and to the viewer. 

My Take On The Movie. 

Well for starters, one is surely inspired by the sheer passion that Neiman displays towards his music and how ferociously he goes about trying to make it a reality.  The process which he follows is surely questionable as he loses all sense of the importance of relationships and the reality of which he is a part.
The fact that a feeling of revenge germinated from the buds of inspiration sown by him was where he as an individual loses the plot. If things are tried to put into the context of the real world, in the situation that Neiman found himself in, he could have used Terence as a whetstone, sharpening his drumming expertise and moving on to greater things rather than confining his talent to the extents of what Terence thought of him.

Whether or not that is a good thing is surely questionable but in regards to delivering a strong message to the viewer, the director (Damien Chazelle) sure has gotten his point across to the viewer. Regardless to say, the movie is an absolute masterpiece and is a must watch for all those of you who haven’t already watched it. 

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